Paris 'Hop on, hop off' sightseeing buses
L'OpenTour and Big Bus Tours
If you're in Paris for only a short time, or if your body won't withstand hours of walking every day, a traditional escorted bus tour is a great convenience. Our tours and activities partner, Viator, offers a variety of tours and excursions in Paris and the surrounding area, with prices in a wide choice of currencies.
Independent travelers often turn up their noses at guided tours, preferring to travel on foot, by M�tro or RER trains, or on city buses. (We share their preference.)
Nowadays, a third option offers a compromise between convenience and independence: the "hop on, hop off" sightseeing bus.
Double-decker buses ofand (formerly Les Cars Rouge) follow set routes with stops at leading museums and tourist attractions.
For a fixed price, you can step off a bus, explore an attraction or neighborhood at your leisure, and catch another bus when you're ready to move on.
As a bonus, you can put on headphones and listen to a running commentary between stops.
The green-and-yellow buses of L'OpenTour cover four sightseeing routes that cover most areas of interest to visitors. A single pass gives you access to all four routes.
The red-and-gold buses of Big Bus Tours cover two routes: the classic "Red Route" in the city center and a "Blue Route" that skirts Montmartre. You can buy your pass on the bus or save 10 percent by ordering online.
Other companies offer sightseeing tours of Paris (Cityrama and Foxity come to mind), but we've chosen to focus on the two major providers, which offer frequent service and extensive route networks year-round.
Also see: Batobus water bus
Durant Imboden is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.
After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel topics for About.com, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors (including Paris for Visitors) in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.